It’s almost too fitting. The aftermath of the outbreak that took events outside of the original Resident Evil’s creepy, slow-burn horror mansion, and into Raccoon City, Resident Evil 2 (and 3), supplies the perfect setting for Slant Six Games’ Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City. Not so much because it’s a great way to tell the other side of that fallout’s tale, and without the handsome Leon S. Kennedy as lead, but because the whole thing is one visual parallel to the game’s design. It’s a mess. A bloody, fiery, dead
To continue the metaphor, like the undead inhabitants of Raccoon City, ORC charges on, mindless and without purpose, beyond a desire to kill and maim.
Despite all you’ve been treated to in the way of marketing and campaigning, ORC is nothing more than a mindless shooter; less than the sum of its barely-fleshed parts, and an utter drain on the senses as a result.
Sure it sports a single-player narrative across a reasonably lengthy campaign, alongside competitive co-op multiplayer, and sure you’re offered up a number of archetypes to choose from when going into the field as an ultra-evil and without-remorse Umbrella spec op, but it feels so lost in direction and execution, you might as well be an armourless Arthur from Capcom’s Ghouls n Ghosts series. At least his boxer shorts would give you something entertaining to look at.
The game’s issues are many, and this is mostly because it’s trying too hard to be all things at once, when really, focusing on what made it sound great on paper should have been paramount. It also feels like a lesser visual tale of Resident Evil 2, a game that was developed back in 1998, due in large part to a lack of finesse. There’s no real tale here, just carnage and chaos. No single hook for you to get your B-grade on, despite Leon and Claire popping up throughout the wafer-thin story. It just feels like Capcom signed the budget off and went on vacation, leaving a team whose track record is shaky at best, to their own devices.
Enemies are a massively mixed bag of fish in a barrel, and plain indestructible barrels. Zombies are easy enough to take down, and the gore-factor here, along with animations is relatively cool. Though they often seem to just “spawn” behind you, which is either a clever “they can get the drop on your at any time” idea, or Slant Six were too lazy to contextually introduce them as you progress. The B.O.W.s then offer some challenge, but half the time you don’t know if you’re even having any affect on them as you load their thick skin up with lead. They don’t flinch at all, so it’s a case of, “yeah they’re hard to kill, but I don’t feel like I’m making any progress at all, until they drop dead”.
Moreover, a concept that should have been cool, which is having another clean-up crew on the field also tackling outbreak victims and Umbrella-created nasties, who’re also your enemy, just don’t reach any kind of maximised potential. Most of the time they’ll stand directly in front of you and fire intermittently, giving you plenty of time to take them down, or they’re so dumbfounded at what’s happened in the city, they don’t even realise the cover they just took is an exploding barrel. You know the rest.
Honestly, I’m hard-pressed to pitch this as any sort of purchase to anyone. Even die-hard Resi fans (of which I am actually one), ought to steer clear. None of the game’s promises are met, and while you might have thought a Resi co-op experience was a dream come true, you’re better off waiting until someone internally pitches it at Capcom in Japan and it’s handled by the series’ parents, and not their snot-nosed, annoying neighbour’s kids (sorry Slant Six, but this effort is inexcusable). You should do what no one in any zombie-related media ever actually does when you see this game: run the other way, and don’t look back.